Best Dive Flags in 2022

When it comes to diving, safety is – or at least should be – the number one factor. A dive flag is a key piece of equipment in ensuring a dive is conducted safely.

But what should you look for in a dive flag?

Does it need to be a certain size?

Is there only one type of dive flag?

These questions and many more will be answered by the end of this article. So, if that sounds of interest, then stick along as we go through the ins and outs of dive flags, as well as offer product recommendations.

Top 5 Dive Flags

1. DiveSmart Buoy Float with 100ft High Visibility

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DiveSmart’s buoy with an attached flag is a great choice for those looking for a solid dive flag setup. The flag is reinforced to prevent roll-over in rough conditions, ensuring continuous high visibility. It also comes with a 100ft finger spool, making it easy to hold throughout the dive.

Features:

  • Inflatable surface buoy
  • Buoy dimensions: 13” diameter
  • Flag dimensions: 12”x11”
  • Diver down flag is reinforced to prevent sagging in the wind – improved surface visibility and greater safety
  • Comes with a 100ft neon yellow finger spool, making for easier holding and adjustment underwater

2. Scuba Choice Scuba Diving Deluxe Diver Below Inflatable Float and Flag Buoy

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Scuba Choice’s float and diver flag makes for a great flag configuration. The wide base of the float makes it very stable in rough conditions. It also comes with a ready to use towline attachment point, making it easier to hold it throughout the dive.

Features:

  • Very stable in strong swells and high waves due to wide 22” base and weight attachment strap
  • Towline attachment ring
  • Flag dimensions: 16″ x 20″

Cons:

  • Flag is not reinforced

3. ScubaMax Inflatable Heavy Duty PVC Dive Flag Float

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The inflatable heavy duty PVC float and flag from ScubaMax is simplicity at its best. The float is large and stable, and the flag is high above water level, making for greater visibility in high seas.

Features:

  • Flag dimensions: 12″x 15″
  • Simple design
  • Affordable price
  • Compact for travel

Cons:

  • Flag is not reinforced
  • No spool or reel included

4. Scuba Choice Palantic Scuba Diving Spearfishing Nylon Ball Shape Float with Dive Flag

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Scuba Choice’s Palantic float and dive flag is a durable, long-lasting setup. The exterior of the float is made of 420D Nylon, providing high resistance to wear and tear. It also comes with 60ft of high-visibility orange rope, meaning you don’t have to supply your own.

Features:

  • Float composed of 420D Nylon – a much more durable material than PVC
  • Float dimensions: 31″ x 8”
  • Flag dimensions: 7.5″ x 7.5″
  • 60ft of high-visibility orange rope included

Cons:

  • Flag is slightly small
  • Flag is not reinforced

5. Quick Inflates Scuba Diving Below Inflatable Signal Floater Diving Inflation Torpedo Buoy Signal Float Ball & Flag

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The quick inflate torpedo buoy and flag setup is another great option. The buoy has an extended oral aeration tube for quick and easy inflation. It also has a total of five D-rings on the buoy for multiple attachment methods, allowing you to configure it the way you want to. Additionally, the setup comes with 65ft of PE rope.

Features:

  • Extend oral aeration tube for inflation
  • 65ft of PE rope included
  • Five D-rings on the buoy for attachment
  • Flag dimensions: 8.2”x7.4”

Cons:

  • Flag is not reinforced

Advice on Buying a Dive Flag

If you’ve been wondering about dive flags, how they work, and what to look out for when buying one, then wonder no further. Here, your queries and questions will be answered (hopefully!).

Why do I Need a Dive Flag?

A dive flag has one purpose only. That is, to alert boats that there are divers in the area.

If you’re doing a stationary dive from a boat (i.e. a dive where the boat anchors and you enter the water once it is parked), then normally it’s the responsibility of the boat to display a dive flag. If, however, you’re doing a drift dive from a boat, then normally you – the diver – needs some sort of surface marker buoy to let your boat and other boats know where you are. In this situation, you could use a dive flag and float to let boats know where you are from the beginning to the end of the dive. Alternatively, you could use a delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) at the end of the dive when you want to be picked up, so you can surface safely. Whether you use a dive flag or DSMB depends on local laws, local diving practices and the rules of your dive operator (if using one).

On the other hand, if you’re doing a shore dive, then you’ll definitely need to bring a diver flag and float. By doing this, local boat traffic will be alerted of your location and will keep distance from your flag.

Is there a Specific Dive Flag?

Now you know when you need a dive flag. Great – but you may still be wondering what a dive flag exactly is. Can a dive flag be any sort of flag that indicates that there are divers in the area, or is there a recognised standard flag?

You guessed it – there’s an internationally recognised dive flag. In fact, there are two standardized flags. They are collectively called ‘diver down’ flags, as they tell boaters that there are divers in the surrounding water. The flags are also commonly used by spearfishers and snorkelers.

The first type of diver down flag has a diagonal white stripe dividing two sections of red, as shown below. It is most commonly used in America and surrounding regions.

Diver Down Flag

The second type of standardized dive flag is called the ‘alpha flag’, which is a type of International Maritime Signal Flag. It is half blue and half white, as shown below. The alpha flag is most commonly used in Europe and surrounding regions. That being said, this is technically the official international dive flag that should be recognised by all nations.

Alpha Flag

In terms of which flag you should purchase, it’s best to check your local regulations, as well as what is most commonly recognised in your area. Many dive operators fly both flags to avoid confusion and problems.

How Close Should I Stay to my Dive Flag?

This is a question with no single answer. It is always best to check local regulations and laws regarding dive flags, as vertical and horizontal distance limits can vary widely from location to location.

That being said, as a general rule, the closer you are to your flag, the safer you will be.

What Should I Look for in a Dive Flag?

The first thing you should do before buying a dive flag is to check the local laws in the area you’ll be diving in. Most regions have a specific size of dive flag that is required, so be sure to check this before making your purchase.

Similarly, you should also look for a flag that is durable. With a lot of salt and UV exposure, a cheap dive flag can easily and quickly lose its colors – this is not what you want. Spending a little more can go a long way when it comes to dive flags.

Additionally, purchasing a flag that is reinforced is also a great idea. Reinforced flags usually have some sort of metal wire running through them which keeps them upright. This means that your dive flag will be far more visible in wind, swell and waves, and is less likely to be missed by boaters. Again, a little more money can go a long way in this respect.

For more product recommendations and buyer’s guides. Happy shopping!

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